Television Review – Suits 7.08 – The 100th: a classic case, but some very disappointing character “development”

It’s certainly an achievement these days for a television show to reach 100 episodes and this week saw Suits celebrate the milestone with a mixed bag episode. I liked aspects of it and I strongly disliked other aspects of it, which make me concerned for the direction of some of my favourite characters going forward.

As always, I’ll start with the aspects of the episode, entitled 100, that I thought worked well.

Robert Zane is the King! 

This week’s episode had one true king and hero and that’s Robert Zane. Why would you work at PSL if you could work for this guy?! I mean, seriously?! I knew Robert would save the day on the prison case, which became the main thrust of this episode and he did it brilliantly. He showed not just the evil CEO, but Harvey and Mike that he is the boss and that compared to him they are all little boys pretending to be grown ups. Wendell Pierce is never around enough and it was great to see him really shine here. My only disappointment was that he didn’t follow through in hitting Harvey. I was counting on you Robert!

Rachel Zane stepping out of the shadows

I have always liked Rachel. She is one of the most decent characters of the central cast and is usually the voice of reason. My problem has always been that Meghan Markle is under-utilised in the show.

Therefore it was great to see Rachel sticking up for herself here and wanting to step up in to the game. She was also, yet again, a great friend to both Louis and Donna and her text messages towards the end of the episode helped prevent one of my beloved characters plummeting off a cliff personality-wise (more on that later), so bravo to Rachel this week.

Also, the death of Gallo rules out one theory I had that his reappearance would eventually lead to the possible death of Rachel. I really hope Meghan Markle stays with the show. She would be missed if she left.

The talented direction of Patrick J Adams

It was lovely that Patrick J Adams was able to direct this milestone episode and he did a superb job as usual. Adams has a brilliant eye for directing and every shot looked gorgeous. He clearly knows what will look great on screen visually. The rooftop scene was lovely and the warm lighting in Harvey’s apartment, not to mention the intercutting of the final montage between Louis and Donna worked very well. Let this talented young man behind the camera more often!

……

Okay, those were the positives. Now for the negatives and I’m disappointed to say that there are some pretty strong negatives…..

Bring back the old Donna Paulsen! Please stop this direction of her character! NOW!

I have always loved Donna (and Sarah Rafferty continues to be superb in the role) and a lot is always said about what a strong woman she is. The route the writers are taking her down this season is a contradiction that perplexes, frustrates and saddens me.

If a romance between Donna and Harvey is off the table, whether permanently or in the short-term, that’s fair enough. I never watch a show feeling I or any subgroup of fans deserve a certain storyline to happen (even though, narrative-wise they still seem destined to be, in my view). That aside, the writers could have chosen to further strengthen Donna on screen, but are moving away from that. In a season in which she has been given a huge promotion to COO, thereby raising her profile, status and screen time (all fantastic choices!), they have also, in my view, weakened her character through their choice of direction for her relationship with Harvey.

Only those casual viewers, or perhaps those invested in another relationship, would believe, seven seasons in, that the love between Donna and Harvey was one-sided. The only woman he has ever directly said “I love you” to is Donna, there was all his actions in Intent, there was the way he reacted when she left him, there was the 6.11 dream and their growing bond across the back end of season 6. I have male friends and this is not how we behave!

Yet, now, we are facing a Suits where Harvey is supposedly truly in love with his therapist (that’s my laughter you can hear), never loved Donna and Donna is left to be portrayed as the lonely, jealous woman, who has wasted her life pining for a man who doesn’t want her. That is not the way to celebrate a powerful woman on screen! I may not think fans deserve a storyline, but Donna, as a character, deserves better than this! Oh, and I note that the line from the promo in which she said she put Harvey first for too long was cut in the episode. How come Suits? Is it because you like dangling Donna as just waiting for Harvey in front of viewers. Take note – we don’t like it!

We could have had Donna revisiting an old flame and potentially finding her own happiness personally and professionally and yet she is left being offered to be a mistress?! Really?! In 2017?! So, only Harvey can be happy, while Donna waits around for him. No thanks. That makes her look ridiculous and me so angry with the writers. The only reason I am not sending Drogon (yes, I love GoT too) to reek carnage at this point, is that the writers did not have Donna go through with sleeping with Mark. Had she done that, her character would have been irreversibly damaged for me. For the moment, I simply remain hugely concerned for where she is headed.

Yet more pain for Louis Litt

It seems that the Suits writers just like making Louis’s life miserable and honestly, it’s getting boring now. Yes, fair enough, for one night, he has had a good time, but surely the consequences of that are going to make him miserable yet again.

Again, is Harvey the only one allowed to be happy?! Especially in the season where he least deserves it?! Rick Hoffman plays every scene of Louis’s with skill and depth and should have won an Emmy for this role years ago and I loved his scenes this week with the ladies, Gretchen, Rachel and of course Donna, but it’s time to stop the angst and give this man a break. It’s what he deserves.

Harvey’s “love” for Paula Agard

I’m sorry, but the introduction of this plot in 7.01 made no narrative sense off the back of seasons 5 and 6 and it continues to be ridiculous. It doesn’t ring true. I don’t think there’s any need for me to say anything more on it!

Where was Jessica?!

I know we’ve seen Gina Torres more than perhaps we all expected this year, but I was hoping for a brief scene for her in the 100th. She was a huge part of the show and is greatly missed, in a series that is becoming less about strong female characters without her presence.

Looking ahead…….

Next week’s episode is called Shame (fits perfectly with how I feel about elements of the show right now). From the promo, it looks as though we are back to business as usual. I guess we’ll see what I think about it next Thursday.

Suits continues its seventh season on Wednesday nights on USW Network at 9/8c in the USA and on Thursdays on Netflix in the UK.

 

 

 

 

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